Check Ohio trees for Asian longhorned beetle

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Asian longhorned beetle
An Asian longhorned beetle. (Submitted photo)

CLERMONT COUNTY, Ohio — Checking state trees for the invasive Asian longhorned beetle is helping to lift quarantine restrictions in the campground area in East Fork State Park and is a necessary step in the overall longhorned beeetle eradication process. 

The quarantine is expected to be lifted soon in the park’s campground and beyond, ending restrictions, such as the restrictions on moving firewood out of the campground. This milestone highlights the importance of checking trees and being on the lookout for the insect. 

The Ohio Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Agriculture held a joint press conference Aug. 3 at East Fork State Park Campground to announce the milestone and show where and how to check for signs of an infestation in your trees. 

The departments are asking for your help to look for signs of the pest, which is why August is being declared “Tree Check Month” nationwide. 

Beetle

The Asian longhorned beetle can cause serious damage to Ohio’s trees. Adults emerge from the trees throughout the summer, with the chances of seeing adult beetles peaking in August. Checking trees for the beetle and damage it causes is one way residents can protect their own trees and help the efforts to eliminate this invasive beetle from the U.S. 

Until the quarantine is lifted, it is illegal to remove the following items from the quarantined area: firewood, stumps, roots, branches, debris and other material living, dead, cut or fallen from hardwood species; green lumber, nursery stock and logs of the following trees: maple, horse chestnut, buckeye, mimosa, birch, hackberry, katsura, ash, golden rain tree, sycamore, poplar, willow, mountain ash and elm. 

This is to prevent the beetle from spreading to other parts of the state. 

The beetle was first discovered in Tate Township, in Clermont County, in June 2011. Since then, over 112,000 trees have been removed to stop the spread of this pest in Ohio. It is an invasive, wood-boring beetle that attacks 12 types of hardwood trees in Ohio, such as maples, elms, birches, willows and Ohio’s official state tree, the buckeye. 

The beetle creates tunnels as it feeds then chews its way out as an adult in the warmer months, typically around August. Infested trees do not recover, eventually, die, and can become safety hazards since their weakened branches can drop and trees can fall over, especially during storms. 

Markings

The beetle has bright and distinctive markings that are easy to recognize. The black and white antennae are longer than the beetle’s body.  It has a shiny black body with white spots that is about 1 inch to 1.5 inches long. Its six legs and feet can appear bluish in color. 

Signs that a tree might be infested include round exit holes in tree trunks and branches, about the size of a dime or smaller, and shallow oval or round scars in the bark where the adult beetle chewed an egg site. There may also be sawdust-like material, called frass, on the branches or ground around the tree and dead branches or limbs falling from an otherwise healthy-looking tree. 

Action

This invasive beetle poses a great threat to Ohio’s hardwood forests (more than $2.5 billion in standing maple timber) and the state’s $5 billion nursery industry, which employs nearly 240,000 people. 

If you think you’ve seen the beetle or signs of infestation, contact the Ohio Asian longhorned beetle eradication program office at 513-381-7180 or email alb@agri.ohio.gov. If possible, capture the insect, place it in a jar and freeze it for identification. If you have a camera, take photos of the insect and the damage to your trees.

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